Most people wouldn’t think about an indie scene in the heart of the “bread basket,” but Omaha, Nebraska has some of the most talented bands come from its Midwestern streets. The arguably biggest band, or person if you want to get technical, is Bright Eyes.
After his band Commander Venus broke up in 1997, Conor Oberst started working on his side project, affectionately name Bright Eyes after the movie Planet of the Apes. He released first album under Bright Eyes, A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997, in 1998. Met with negative critical reviews, Bright Eyes focused on clearer songs and released Letting off the Happiness later that year. Quickly following these albums were the Every Day and Every Night EP in 1999 and Fevers and Mirrors in 2000.
With the release of their album Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground in 2002, Bright Eyes exploded into the mainstream indie scene as one of the best new artists. After rigorous touring with several artists, including Neil Young and R.E.M., Bright Eyes released I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn in 2005. After more touring and appearances, Bright Eyes released the Four Winds EP and the album Cassadaga in 2007. Oberst took 2008 and 2009 off from Bright Eyes to tour with his other bands Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and Monsters of Folk.
After his hiatus, Bright Eyes released what may be their final album, The People’s Key, in February of 2011. Touring in support of the new album, Bright Eyes came to the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on June 5, 2011. They were supposed to play on Friday June 3, 2011 but, due to a scheduling issue, Bright Eyes had to come back on Sunday. Though there were very dedicated fans in the audience, there were about half as many as there could have been on Friday.
Nonetheless, Bright Eyes wowed the audience with an almost solid two hour set and played a myriad of their songs. From “A Scale A Mirror and Those Indifferent Clocks,” “Arc Of Time,” “Four Winds,” to “Lover I Don’t Have To Love,” “One For You, One For Me,” “Road To Joy,” “Old Soul Song” and “Landlocked Blues,” among many others, Bright Eyes had the crowd singing and captivated. Their talent and pure passion kept everyone enthralled and hanging on every word. One of the beast things about the set is they didn’t only focus on the most popular songs they had in their catalogue and for a band to do that and still hold the audience in their hands says a lot.
If you were lucky enough to have gone last night, you may have seen one of the last live shows Bright Eyes will play. Oberst has made comments about retiring the Bright Eyes moniker and this might have been the last time Bright Eyes comes around for at least a long time. If you didn’t go last night, make sure to pick up their new album and make it a point to see them at least once before retirement sets in.